Facebook's 'Memories'. Some people hate them, some love them - but however you feel about them, you can't deny their effectiveness in prompting people to share more content.
Back in 2015, Facebook was reportedly facing a crisis. According to a report published by The Information, overall sharing on Facebook fell 5.5% between mid-2014 and mid-2015, while the sharing of personal posts - like people's own thoughts and photos - fell a massive 21% in the same period. That's now two years ago, but the flow-on impacts of that - which Facebook reportedly labeled 'context collapse' - are still coming through.
Memories is a key weapon in their battle against this. Because Facebook's advertising system is built on their vast personal data stores, they need more people to be sharing more content more often, and personal updates, in particular, are key to that effort.
You've no doubt noticed more 'On This Day' prompts in your News Feed - while they often feel a bit pushy or cheap, more than 60 million Facebook users visit their personal "On This Day" page every day, and 155 million have opted to receive dedicated notifications for the feature.
Yes, it can be a bit tacky, but every now and then there's one you want to share. Even for those who hate it, you can't deny it has some effect.
Now Facebook's looking to add more Memories functionality to improve such reminders.
First up, Facebook's adding more grouped recaps based around a particular time-frame or season.
As explained by Facebook:
"We've launched a new experience that packages your recent memories in a delightful way for you to enjoy and share. For related recent memories, we will bundle them into a monthly or seasonal memory recap story. Like On This Day, these memory recap stories will show up in News Feed and are shareable."
As you can see, you'll have options to share packages like 'Your January Memories' or 'A Look Back at Your Summer'. Again, it may feel a little forced, like Facebook's pushing a bit too hard to get you sharing more often. But if you'd had a particularly eventful period, no doubt there'll be some appeal.
Celebrating Facebook Milestones
Facebook's also launching new milestone notifications which will prompt you with updates when you reach a 'notable' number of Facebook friends or a certain number of Liked posts.
These are the only two listings of this type available now, but Facebook says they're looking to add other, similar notifications in future. Various users have noticed these updates in testing.
Such milestones could add to the gamification element of the process, get more people pushing to reach these thresholds in order to receive the updates. That's possible, but at present, they don't appear to add much.
But then again, part of the limitation right now is that they're only viewable by the user they relate to - Facebook says they'll make these shareable in future. That could spark people's competitive nature, which can only help Facebook.
New Memories Controls
And the last update relates to your ability to filter out Memories that might spark negative responses.
A bad break-up, a death in the family - there can be a range of reasons why you might not want to be reminded of a particular person or time. To help with this Facebook's adding a new tool which will enable you to remove reminders of memories relating to individuals.
While you can also black out particular periods in time of which you don't want to be reminded.
The options will give users more capacity to manage such reminders - how many people will actually go in and use them is another question, but the tools are there for those who want to do so.
As noted, whether you like them or not, Facebook's Memories reminders are effective - in fact, Facebook says 'On This Day' is one of their 'most popular experiences'. How you feel about them overall will reflect how you feel about these updates - if you see no use in such prompts, then you can continue to ignore them, or even turn such notifications off completely, and move on. But if it's something you like, you can look forward to more, similar updates, and utilize the new tools to optimize your experience.